Rankings go up on Mondays.
Ranked fights this week:
- Lightweight: (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (9) George Kambosos Jr, Nov. 27
- Junior Lightweight: (7) Azinga Fuzile vs Kenichi Ogawa, Nov. 27
- Junior Featherweight: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (3) Brandon Figueroa, Nov. 27
- Junior Featherweight: (10) Ra’eese Aleem vs Eduardo Baez, Nov. 27
- Minimumweight: (10) Ayanda Ndulani vs Siphamandla Baleni, Nov. 26
Upcoming Fights: (8) Joseph Parker vs Derek Chisora, Dec. 18
Notes: Yuniel Dorticos got in a quiet return over the weekend, stopping Jesse Bryan in the second round in Miami, so he’s at least active again and definitely hasn’t retired after his Sept. 2020 loss to Mairis Briedis. Bryan, a Missouri club fighter, is specializing in sacrificing himself for contending cruiserweights to get a fight in, as he did the same about 11 months ago with Noel Mikalien, also in Miami.
Upcoming Fights: (3) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs Canelo Alvarez, May 7
Upcoming Fights: (5) Badou Jack vs Samuel Crossed [cruiserweight], Nov. 26 ... (2) Dmitry Bivol vs Umar Salamov, Dec. 11 ... (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (4) Marcus Browne, Dec. 17 ... (6) Gilberto Ramirez vs Yunieski Gonzalez, Dec. 18 ... (3) Joe Smith Jr vs Callum Johnson, Jan. 15
Upcoming Fights: (5) Carlos Gongora vs Lerrone Richards, Dec. 18 ... (10) David Morrell Jr vs Alantez Fox, Dec. 18 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Ilunga Junior Makabu [cruiserweight], May 7
Notes: Demetrius Andrade’s Friday wipeout of Jason Quigley came as no surprise to anybody, other than the fact that it ended inside of two rounds; even that probably didn’t shock those who have seen Andrade start very fast only to play it safe. This time, he didn’t, and while Quigley getting his jaw busted probably didn’t help the Irishman with hanging around, but mostly it was just that Andrade was hitting him with everything big he felt like throwing. Andrade really needs to fight a real contender next; I think he deserves the “big fight” with Charlo, GGG, Munguia, whatever, but even if it’s Alimkhanuly or somebody, at least he’d be in with someone who presents a credible threat.
And Janibek Alimkhanuly also won as expected on the weekend, dominating an aged Hassan N’Dam on Saturday. The Kazakh has flaws and definitely doesn’t have some sort of impenetrable defense or anything, but he can fight — faster hands than you might expect, moves well, has pop in both hands. N’Dam has always been tough as hell and in his prime was a real handful, but he’s not in his prime anymore. There was a garbage WBO trinket on the line for that fight, so Andrade could be be Janibek’s sights. Trainer Buddy McGirt fully believes “Qazaq Style” is ready for a title fight.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs (5) Ryota Murata, Dec. 29
Notes: Tim Tszyu won again last week, beating Takeshi Inoue by wide decision in Australia. Definitely not the most “wow!” result of Tszyu’s developing career, but Inoue is durable; you’ll remember him also going 12 rounds of one-sided defeat against Jaime Munguia in early 2019.
At any rate, given how things are right now, it’s at least good to see Tszyu staying active. Hopefully 2022 brings him the chance to either travel for a bigger challenge, or get someone to come to him for one. There are a lot of solid names at 154 that would work, and one I’ll throw that I’d actually really love to see is Brandon Adams, a very crafty fighter without a major promoter deal who hung in there with Serhii Bohachuk before scoring an upset stoppage in eight last time we saw him. Tszyu would be favored, but Adams is the sort of high-level gatekeeper who could make a good test for Tim. Another name would be Austin Trout, who has turned into something of a traveling battler at 36, and is still a tricky southpaw out there winning fights at a certain level. Again, he’d be the underdog, but it’s the sort of fight a contender has to win on the way up if they’re really going to be a contender.
Upcoming Fights: (7) Sebastian Fundora vs (10) Sergio Garcia, Dec. 5 ... (8) Michel Soro vs (9) Israil Madrimov, TBA
Notes: We’ve been over Terence Crawford’s stoppage of Shawn Porter enough the last couple days, no need to deep dive it here, too. Crawford made a full statement with that win, and has also left Top Rank. It’s clear he’s seeking the fight with Errol Spence Jr first and foremost — or, well, it seems clear. It’s boxing, let’s not say anything is “clear” unless it’s said directly and in the plainest possible language.
I think it’s arguable that Crawford is the top welterweight right now, but I’m still edging it to Spence, who beat Porter first and also has a good win over Danny Garcia and, let’s not forget, one over the 2017 version of Kell Brook, too. It’s a closer call than it was before, but I still think Errol’s resume nicks it.
Porter announced his retirement after the fight, hanging up the gloves at age 34. A two-time titleholder and a guy who didn’t avoid fighting anybody brought to him, Porter had a hell of a career and I think will be fondly remembered by fans who got to witness it.
His retirement leaves another opening in the rankings, so Conor Benn is in at No. 10. It came down to Benn, Eimantas Stanionis, and veterans Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Abel Ramos, and Josesito Lopez for me. I’ve gone with Benn but you could argue the others and maybe a few more, too. This division does not have the star-studded depth that Brian Kenny and Mauro Ranallo will scream at you about when you actually look at it past the top few.
I also want to add this: I know many would likely pick Ortiz or Ennis to beat Danny Garcia at this point, but Danny’s got a veteran track record they don’t, and I’m also confident Garcia would beat the guys those guys have beaten. We’re basically just waiting for Danny to go up to 154 at this point, anyway.
Upcoming Fights: (10) Conor Benn vs Chris Algieri, Dec. 11 ... (3) Yordenis Ugas vs Eimantas Stanionis, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (9) Montana Love vs Carlos Diaz, Dec. 4 ... (3) Jose Ramirez vs (7) Jose Pedraza, Feb. 5 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26
Upcoming Fights: (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (9) George Kambosos Jr, Nov. 27 ... (4) Devin Haney vs (8) Joseph Diaz Jr, Dec. 4 ... (6) Gervonta Davis vs Isaac Cruz, Dec. 5 ... (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (5) Richard Commey, Dec. 11 ... (7) Jorge Linares vs Michel Rivera, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (7) Azinga Fuzile vs Kenichi Ogawa, Nov. 27 ... (5) Shavkat Rakhimov vs Rilwan Oladosu, Dec. 11 ... (6) Chris Colbert vs (8) Roger Gutierrez, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Gary Russell Jr vs Mark Magsayo, TBA ... (6) Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, TBA
Notes: Murodjon Akhmadaliev made a successful two-belt defense on Friday, out-pointing determined but out-gunned Chilean challenger Jose Velasquez, a short-notice replacement for Ronny Rios. It was in no way MJ’s best performance, and I think everyone knows that, including Akhmadaliev trainer Joel Diaz, who sounded a little frustrated with his fighter. Akhmadaliev does still plan to defend against Rios next, as Rios is a mandatory challenger and MJ isn’t looking to drop a belt.
I will say that this weekend’s Figueroa-Fulton fight on Showtime might see a new No. 1 in the division in our rankings next week. It will have to be a certain sort of performance; I don’t know how to put it into words, but I’ll know it if I see it, and then it might be easier to explain what I mean if it happens. I can just go, “Like that. That’s what I meant,” and you’ll all go, “Oh, like that, I see, hmm, yes,” so let’s just save it for then if it happens because right now it’s all in theory.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (3) Brandon Figueroa, Nov. 27 ... (10) Ra’eese Aleem vs Eduardo Baez, Nov. 27
Upcoming Fights: (2) Nonito Donaire vs Reymart Gaballo, Dec. 11 ... (3) John Riel Casimero vs Paul Butler, Dec. 11 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14 ... (9) Lee McGregor vs Narek Abgaryan, Dec. 18
Upcoming Fights: (9) Donnie Nietes vs Norbelto Jimenez, Dec. 11 ... (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA ... (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, TBA
Notes: After a couple of postponements, we still didn’t really get Julio Cesar Martinez vs McWilliams Arroyo this past Friday, as it ended in a no-decision in round two. Well, Arroyo may have gotten as much of it as he wanted, despite drawing first blood with a knockdown.
Artem Dalakian did return and make a successful WBA title defense in Kiev against Luis Concepcion, scoring a ninth round stoppage. Maybe the WBA has to actually order Dalakian to get him to fight, but sadly they already played their beloved Luis Concepcion card. The winner of this weekend’s fight between Muhammad Waseem and Rober Barrera (ranked fifth and fourth, respectively) could well be in line next, and there’s also David Jimenez and Ryota Yamauchi at Nos. 2 and 3. Also, if Waseem is successful this weekend, expect him to be back in the rankings next week. Those last couple spots are being held hostage, basically.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Sunny Edwards vs Jayson Mama, Dec. 11 ... (3) Junto Nakatani vs Cristian Gonzalez, Dec. 29
Upcoming Fights: (3) Masamichi Yabuki vs (5) Kenshiro Teraji, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (10) Ayanda Ndulani vs Siphamandla Baleni, Nov. 26 ... (9) Vic Saludar vs Erick Rosa Pacheco, Dec. 9 ... (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Robert Paradero, Dec. 14 ... (4) Wilfredo Mendez vs Masataka Taniguchi, Dec. 14 ... (2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs (3) Wanheng Menayothin, Jan. 25
Notes: We wanted to see Terence Crawford get a truly good win. He did. He’s back in the top five pound-for-pound because he did. Why have Crawford over Spence here but not at 147? Because I do. You will find the world keeps spinning tomorrow all the same, and if it doesn’t, this definitely isn’t why.
Upcoming Fights: (6) Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr, Nov. 27 ... (7) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey, Dec. 11 ... (3) Naoya Inoue vs Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14 ... (8) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26 ... (10) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (4) Jessica McCaskill vs Victoria Noelia Bustos, Dec. 4 ... (1) Katie Taylor vs Firuza Sharipova, Dec. 11 ... (2) Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin, Dec. 11 ... (7) Seniesa Estrada vs Maria Santizo, Dec. 18 ... (10) Chantelle Cameron vs Kali Reis, TBA